Trustee – Mary Cooke

I am a very recent member of the WI and joined Cheddleton WI early in 2020 just before the first ‘lockdown’ for COVID19. Undaunted, I anticipated the time when members could re-form the group, and recruit, and get going together again. My mother was a staunch member and Chair of her Kent based WI so I assisted and supported her various events and looked for a time when work and family gave me a space to join. Cheddleton WI has 30% new members since starting again, this reflects the strong revival of interest by younger women in joining.

It was at the County Day last year in May that I responded to Verity’s open verbal invitation to consider becoming a Trustee. So now I am at the beginning of what I hope will be a long career in WI, which has become even more interesting since attending SFWI meetings in the Cornerstone HQ. I am in amazement at how SFWI groups manage so differently, and so well and in awe of the handcrafting skills of WI members, as I attempted patchwork only to realise how tricky it is – so much to learn.

I trained as a nurse, and midwife, then developed my career between university researcher, teacher, NHS manager, and clinical practitioner in A&E. Retirement has been tried, and now have a clinical presence in community two days a week, which is sufficient to retain my practice, and in research of patient focused clinical health policy, health economics and writing for publication.

As well as maintaining the garden with my husband (the Head Gardener) I keep honeybees and currently have five hives. That can all change and depends so much on luck and attention to the needs of the bees through the seasons. Cheddleton WI and I hope they are as productive in honey next year as this.

Mary Cooke